Children between two and five should switch to low fat milk to get added calcium and protein.
New research shows 74 percent of pre-schoolers are still drinking full fat milk, despite a Health Ministry recommendation to switch them to low fat once they've turned two.
Child Dietitian Lea Stening told Nadine Higgins children aged between one and two need more fat in their milk for growth, but after two years they need other minerals.
"If we can bring in low fat milks, it's better because those milks are also fortified and so have extra protein and calcium."
The Ministry of Health recommends children after the age of two years drink two to three serves of low fat milk a day.
The research also shows a direct relationship between the consumption of cow’s milk, and socio demographic factors.
Massey University Associate Professor Pamela von Hurst told ZB that children who drank low fat milk tended to have mothers with higher levels of education and were from higher socio economic sectors.
"We also found that children who lived in the South Island tended to drink high fat milk rather than low fat and Maori and Pasifika children did as well."
She said it is recommended children not drink too much milk as well.
"It is just a note of caution really. The Ministry of Health do recommend that from the age of two, that children should be drinking reduced fat milk and also not too much milk so up to a maximum of about half a litre a day."
LISTEN TO LEA STENING TALK WITH NADINE HIGGINS ABOVE